Lady Lancers earn spot in NCCAA finals

KISSIMMEE, Fla. – Grace’s women’s soccer team continued its postseason march with a 3-0 win over Erskine on Thursday.

With the win, Grace clinched the top spot in its pool at the 2020 NCCAA National Championships. The women’s bracket does not have a semifinal match, meaning Grace will advance directly to the national championship match on Saturday.

The Lady Lancers, in pursuit of the program’s first national championship, will take on NCAA Div. II foe Dallas Baptist in the finals on Saturday at 5:30 p.m.

Victoria Lucido was a handful on Thursday. She had a part in all three of Grace’s scoring moments, including a goal and two assists.

The Lady Lancers (10-3-1) needed to win or tie to advance to the championship match. Grace made sure the win was secure by halftime.

After 13 minutes of action, Grace took the lead. Sacia Hanson made a dangerous advance for Grace along the left endline and crossed to the middle.

Lucido clipped the ball into open space, and Madison Tuma was first to the ball and drove her shot into the back of the net.

The second goal came just six minutes later. JJ Aalbue passed ahead to Lucido, who was sprinting through the middle of Erskine’s defense.

Lucido collected the pass and calmly scored directly in front of the goalkeeper for a 2-0 lead.

Before 30 minutes had expired, Grace expanded its lead to 3-0. Lucido and Aalbue connected in the middle to find space for an attack.

Aalbue found Hanson open on the right side of the field. Hanson, who was maneuvering on the right edge of the penalty box, lifted a high shot toward Erskine’s goal. The ball flew over the leaping goalie and into the far side of the net for an emphatic third and final goal.

Erskine was blanked for the rest of the match. Bethany Blackwood registered her eighth shutout in 14 matches after making four saves. Grace emptied its bench in the second half to save its legs for the championship bout on Saturday.

Nine different players registered a shot for Grace, led by two shots apiece from Adelee Gartner and Aalbue.

The Lady Lancers are making their second appearance in the NCCAA championship game after coming up short in a penalty shootout in 2014.